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How to write the perfect proposal

Freelancers, whether you are applying for projects on a third party site such as Upwork or responding to an advertisement, usually send in proposals. 

Proposals are important because they outline what you, the freelancer, can do to accommodate and accomplish whatever needs the client might have. A good proposal clearly defines the services that will be provided in a professional and cohesive way. This gives the client the feeling that you provide high-quality services. 

It is important that your proposal shows that you: 

  • Understand the needs and goals of the client
  • Offer the best alternative and best quality 
  • You are open to communication and ideas that fulfil the needs of the client

Proposals should generally include this information: 

  1. Your name or business name and logo in a prominent place such as the header
  2. You should address your potential client if you have a name. Otherwise, use an appropriate salutation
  3. What project you are hoping to be a part of
  4. Scope of services/description of services
  5. Amount of time to complete services – if you are able to estimate based on the description of the project
  6. Price of services
  7. Why the client should select you
  8. Payment terms

Format

A proposal can be long or short depending on the needs of the client. For example, on Upwork you complete a “cover letter” then add your pricing in another section. In that situation you would use a shorter format generally. If you find a project post on Facebook, you would send a more detailed or formal proposal perhaps from a CRM such as Dubsado or even long form in a Google doc. 

The important thing to remember is that you want to match the tone of the project poster. A very casual opportunity post probably doesn’t need a three page project proposal. Remember, clients are busy – they need you to get to the point and tell them exactly what you will do to help them. 

Tips

Get to know your potential client

Analyze the project description as deeply as possible. When writing a proposal the first thing to remember is that the client only cares about how you can help them have an amazing result. Look for keywords within the description and reply to those concerns or hurdles and how you can help the client overcome them. 

The job description will also help you decide on the format of your proposal. This means that a less formal job description doesn’t necessarily need a super formal proposal and it can be more casual; where a super formal description would encourage you to make your proposal more formal. 

Highlight your strengths

You want to shine a spotlight on your skills, especially if you see that the majority of the descriptions are a perfect match for what you excel in. 

Do not include irrelevant skills or experience in your proposal. The client, once again, only cares about how you can help THEM with their specific needs. Be clear on how your amazing skills have helped in specific ways in the past with other clients in other employment. 

Grab their attention…

With a strong start. Potential clients will read a LOT of proposals. Don’t use a boring first sentence. Start with a strong lead on why you are perfect for the project. You can be more detailed further in the proposal but draw attention to how amazing you are quickly. 

Be Specific

Name specific tasks, ideas, or considerations that you would bring to that specific project. Tailor each sentence to that specific project and give details on how you would assist in accomplishing the clients goals. 

The Other Stuff

  • Proofread and spell check – there is nothing worse than losing a project because you didn’t take those extra 3 minutes to check your spelling
  • Create a template so that you can reuse the proposal – changing the wording, of course, based on each client. Templates help keep your branding consistent and you can plug in the different packages or services based on the client needs
  • Follow up – send a message if you don’t hear back from the client. 
  • Be nice!

Need more help determining how to set up your back office as a virtual assistant? Check out the various courses I offer. Or join the Business From Home Mom Group to join forces with others starting their journey to get feedback on your proposal templates. 

Keep dreamin’